ARWIND Santos is excited to be back training and is hoping his enthusiasm rubs off on some of his teammates.
As the Petron Blaze Boosters began training on Thursday for the Commissioner’s Cup, Santos is eager to get back in action and help the team rise after falling way short of expectations in the Philippine Cup.
“Bawat isa sa amin, gusto naming ibigay ang best. Ako din, gusto kong maging magandang halimabawa dahil alam naman natin may mga nagpe-petiks lang. Sana mahawaan ko rin sila,” Santos told Spin.ph after the team’s first practice this 2013 at the Acropolis gym in Quezon City.
The Boosters entered the season parading a retooled roster after acquiring top overall pick June Mar Fajardo from the draft, along with No. 3 Alex Mallari, but Santos said one bitter lesson they learned is that the roster retooling won’t be enough to lead them back to a championship.
“Yung pagkuha ng championship is a hard thing to do. Di siya ganun kadali dahil kailangan namin talagang paghirapan,” said the 6-foot-3 former FEU King Tamaraw.
Santos noted it is tough to suit up and hit the court again after the disappointing quarterfinal exit from the recent tournament, but stressed that they all need to man up and get back to work.
“Medyo di maiwasan na mahirapan sa simula. Pero siyempre, maganda na yung naghahanda na ngayon pa lang. Nasa player din kasi iyan eh,” said Santos, who averaged 17.4 points, 12 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.4 blocks in more than 35 minutes of play in the Philippine Cup.
“Excited na excited na rin kami sa second conference. Gusto naming makabawi sa susunod na conference. Kailangan lang talaga ng spark ng iba,” he added.
Santos led the league with 12 double-doubles, including 11 straight in the Philippine Cup, but Petron finished 6-9 in the 14-game elimination round. They faced twice-to-beat sister team San Mig Coffee in the quarterfinals, losing in the do-or-die match in overtime.
Now, with the team expecting former New York Knick and Denver Nugget forward Renaldo Balkman to arrive sometime in the middle of the month, the Boosters are looking to make some serious noise in the mid-season conference.